Man, 44, held over murder of woman, 23, who vanished

Linda Umpleby holds a picture of her missing daughter Gemma Simpson
Linda Umpleby holds a picture of her missing daughter Gemma Simpson
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A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a woman who went missing from her home in Leeds more than a decade ago.

The 44-year-old was detained in Scarborough on Tuesday night in connection with the disappearance of Gemma Simpson, of Harehills.

He remained in custody yesterday as police carried out a search of an address on St Leonard’s Crescent in the Barrowcliff area of Scarborough.

Gemma’s loved ones, who have made repeated appeals over the years for her safe return, have been informed of the dramatic development in the case.

The Yorkshire Post understands that no body has been found at this stage of the inquiry.

Gemma was 23 when she vanished on May 3, 2000, after telling a friend she was catching a bus from Harehills to Leeds city centre.

Her family have said they can think of no obvious reason for her disappearance.

Police working on the case have previously taken their search as far afield as Amsterdam after reports that Gemma may have travelled to the city. Her face has also featured on milk cartons and even on the side of a fleet of 40-foot long lorries in campaigns to find her.

Det Chief Insp Adrian Taylor, from West Yorkshire Police’s protective services (crime) unit, said yesterday: “A 44-year-old man was arrested in Scarborough on suspicion of the murder of Gemma Simpson who went missing in Leeds in May 2000. An address in Scarborough is currently being examined as part of the investigation and the man remains in custody while our inquiries continue.

“We have notified Gemma’s family and will be keeping them informed of any developments.”

Speaking last year about Gemma’s disappearance, her sister, Naomi Carrack, of Otley, said: “The ache in our hearts hasn’t got any less in the last 13 years.

“When somebody dies, you can grieve – you can go to their graveside, you can talk to them.

“We have nothing. Gemma didn’t just vanish – someone knows what happened to her.”